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Preparing for loss

The diagnosis of a terminal illness can be devastating. It is natural for parents and carers to want to protect children and young people from the diagnosis particularly when the person who is ill is undergoing treatment and the outcome is very uncertain.

Children and young people may well pick up on natural levels of stress and anxiety around them without understanding the cause. They are likely to notice changes to their world no matter how small and, to some degree, there will be inevitable changes to family life. These may be frequent hospital appointments or stays in hospital, or the person who is ill may change in appearance or behaviour.

In the absence of information as to what is happening children and young people may invent their own explanations, which may leave them feeling worried and upset.

We know that children and young people can be helped to prepare for the loss of someone important to them by:

  • Having information appropriate to their age and level of understanding
  • Being given the opportunity to ask questions
  • Being able to express their feelings and concerns

Our experienced team of practitioners can help parents, carers and professionals find ways to support children and young people through these difficult discussions.

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